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Growing up in Energy Poverty: a study of social relations and energy poverty amongst children and young people in Europe.

Project Description

The Centre for Regional, Economic and Social Research (CRESR), in partnership with EnAct (The Energy Action Project, Paris) and BEUC- the European Consumer Organisation, are pleased to offer this fully funded collaborative PhD scholarship.

Energy poverty is widespread across Europe. Up to 125 million EU citizens are unable to access or afford adequate indoor thermal comfort, resulting in living conditions that are too cold in winter and/or too hot in summer (European Commission, 2019). Energy poverty causes and exacerbates physical and mental health issues and social isolation and can result in premature death (NEA, 2019). It disproportionately and more severely affects children and the elderly (NCB, 2016). This PhD will explore lived experiences of energy poverty amongst a much under-researched group (children and young people) and from a new perspective (social relations). The successful candidate will employ innovative qualitative methods to understand and raise awareness of the interactions between energy poverty (as experienced by children and young people) and social relations.

The project will be enabled by a novel partnership including The Energy Action project (EnAct, Paris) and the Solutions to Energy Poverty (STEP) project led by BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation. The research will be conducted in the UK and Portugal.

Aims and objectives
• To use the existing datasets and literature to establish the extent of existing knowledge in relation to the scale and nature of childhood energy poverty in Europe with particular reference to the case study countries.
• To design and undertake original, in-depth qualitative research to generate new insights into lived experiences of childhood energy poverty and the ways in which social relations (macro and micro) shape these experiences and impacted by them.
• To contribute data relating to children and young people and social relations to two major, Europe-wide projects (EnAct and STEP) with a focus on improving understanding of energy poverty.
• To work with EnAct to raise awareness of the impact of energy poverty on children and young people in Europe through public exhibitions and related social media campaigns.

The PhD provides a unique opportunity to work creatively alongside internationally influential organisations to raise awareness of the impacts of energy poverty on children and young people and contribute to the development of effective policy solutions.

The relationship between the student and the project partners will have four facets:
• Access to data: project partners will enable access to and contribute quantitative and qualitative data and soft intelligence to help enable the research.
• Provision of translation services: all languages relevant to the project are represented within EnAct and STEP and project partners will provide the translation services necessary to enable the research.
• Contributions to partner projects: it is anticipated that the student will both draw data from and contribute data and insights to the two partner projects (STEP and EnAct) through regular contact and periodic attendance at project meetings.
• Provision of a placement and opportunities for dissemination and impact: EnAct will host the student in Paris for one month at the end of the second year of the PhD (assuming full time study) to contribute to the development of a related public exhibition which will provide a key dissemination and impact mechanism for the PhD research. The student can, in turn, help both EnAct and STEP to raise awareness of their projects and campaigns amongst academics through attendance at academic conferences and events and their membership of academic networks.

The successful candidate will have a keen interest in social justice in the context of energy and environmental policy. Experience in both qualitative and quantitative research techniques will be important. These skills and interests might have been developed, for example, through recent undergraduate or Master’s study, or through a related policy or practice role.

Clients include government departments and agencies, local authorities, charities and foundations, international organisations, and the private sector. We offer research expertise covering a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods, evaluation, policy advice and guidance, and consultancy.
The Centre holds an enduring commitment to academic rigour through applied policy research, and has been recognised for its success in doing so through the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF): 81% of research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.
Please see the CRESR website for more information on our research

More information about our research can be found on the Graduate School website

Funding Notes

The Vice Chancellor collaborative studentship includes tuition fees and a stipend at RCUK National Minimum Doctoral Stipend rates (£15.009 full-time; pro-rata for part-time students). The start date for the studentship is 18th May 2020.

Applicants must email a postgraduate application form View Website
to by 12 noon on 6th April 2020.


How to apply
Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the supervisory team for an informal discussion prior to completing their application: Dr Aimee Ambrose [email protected]

The application form asks for a 1500-word research proposal. You should use this space to outline:
a) why you are interested in doing PhD research on this topic
b) how your skills and experience to date (including your undergraduate and/or masters dissertation, if relevant) prepare you to embark on the project
c) any challenges that you foresee in conducting the research and how you might approach or solve them
Please note, at this stage, you only need to include the names and contact details for referees and do not have to request references.

All applicants should hold an undergraduate degree (2.1 or above) and/or a relevant masters qualification (or expectation of the same). The scholarship pays fees at home/EU levels only, and international students will be expected to provide the difference from another funding source. International students must provide evidence that they meet a minimum IELTS requirements (7, with 7 in all areas)

Selection process
Successful applicants will be required to attend an interview where you will be asked to answer questions about your understanding of the proposed research. All interviews will be in person - Skype will not be available.
Interviews are provisionally scheduled for Monday 20th April 2020.

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